Doodling is dreaming

lascaux2Narcotic substances were responsible for the emergence of doodles. At least, one of the recent theories says so. Prehistoric cavemen were getting high on fumes from their own fires and had recurring visions of animals running over cave ceilings and walls. Those cave people didn’t get to see much besides animals in their lifetime, so animals were a natural feature of their dreams. The first drawing was a mere charcoal trace of one of the animal silhouettes they hallucinated up the wall.

When I was a kid I loved drawing tanks that were shooting away their deadly shells, and horsemen, fiercely waving their swords, because those were the images Soviet television was bombarding me with from dawn till dusk. I didn’t hallucinate any battles, but I dreamed of fighting enemies of the USSR. Some twenty years later, I was greatly disappointed to learn the USSR had been its own greatest enemy for most of its later history.

I also dreamed of becoming an astronaut but my hand was better at tanks than spaceships.

Great doodling is about dreaming, even though no drugs are involved nowadays (I mean kids). That’s why psychologists love to interpret children’s drawings.

No one can stop kids dreaming, and no one can pull the plug on their drawing.

Kids get down to drawing right where and when they start dreaming, be it wall paper or floor boards. Most of their artworks get destroyed by angry parents who can’t understand why their daughters and sons could not use proper paper. Because paper was ten feet away from the place where and when the dream “happened”, that’s why.

The Gruyère Castle (Switzerland) offers its visitors a rare insight into the world of a Medieval princess through a few remaining wall etchings that are preserved there. This young lady of high status, who lived at the end of the 16th century, was not so much different from modern girls. She was dreaming about princes, and princesses riding horses to meet their princes.


The prince is quite nicely drawn, but my favourite is the lady riding a horse, below. Both share the same kind of royal grace (the kind that you find only in Hollywood movies about royals).


The graffiti is protected by cheap plastic, and I am sorry for the reflections. The princess was immortalising her dreams next to the window with a view that shouts “romantic” through each of its hexagonal cells:


The princess was most likely married off to a guy she didn’t know before the wedding, who was much older, with a foul personality matching the smell from his mouth. Middle ages were middle ages, after all.

I didn’t become a tank commander.

Did you live up to the dreams in your doodles? 


  1. Whenever i feel doodly it stems from a thought, i find that it my inner thoughts about what i can see or am listening to seem to fall onto my page, these often progress later into full artworks, or even commercial designs. Doodles are powerful tools.

    1. One of the artists I happen to collect makes doodle-type sketches all the time. And then he renders some of them in pastel, and then some of the latter in oil. I took some of his doodles and framed them. The guy never used a photocamera, because doodling a scene allows him to remember important things about it, not cluttered by irrelevant details )

  2. I used to doodle everything from hippie flower designs to realistic eyeballs and such body parts when I was younger. My school used to make us cover the used textbooks we got each semester, which I did so thriftily with brown grocery bags. They ended up looking like graffiti by the end.
    Now at twenty-something I still doodle throughout the day, but unfortunately they’re not as carefree as they used to be. My daydreaming is usually left to twilight hours anymore.

  3. They don’t look like doodles to me. They’re more like drawings. My doodles are figure 8’s and paisley. What is the definition of a doodle?

    1. Wiki says it is an unfocused drawing that often occurs during day-dreaming ) What I found on the walls is, perhaps, a cross between a pure doodle and a focused drawing with the Prince gravitating towards a drawing and the Princess sliding off to a doodle )

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